Mexican rice with kidney beans and corn? GREAT! Mexican stuffed zucchini? YES, please! Mexican stuffed zucchini with cashew cheese? OH MY GOSH, EVEN BETTER!!
I’ve always loved stuffed veggies and I tried a lot of different versions in the last couple of weeks. Usually we have stuffed red bell peppers either with rice or with millet, but these Mexican stuffed zucchini with cashew cheese turned out so great! Plus they are super healthy and easy to make. It’s always very good to eat rice and beans in the same dish, as they together make up a complete protein, which provides all amino acids that our body can’t make on its own.
For the filling, I used brown rice, an onion, garlic, tomato paste, kidney beans, corn, and lots of spices such as paprika powder, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. I also added smoked tofu, which I cut into small cubes and roasted gently until it became golden and crispy. If you want the stuffed zucchini to be soy-free, just leave out the tofu; the Mexican rice is also great without it. Its smoky flavor, however, makes a great addition. I really got a thing for smoked tofu. For me it doesn’t even have to be fried, I could just eat right out of the package. So most of the time only half of the smoked tofu I want to use ends up in the dish. ;-)
The cashew cheese sauce is made of half a cup of cashews, which I soaked in water for about 30 minutes, almond milk, nutritional yeast, miso paste (optional), garlic, and paprika powder. I also like eating this vegan cashew cheese along with nachos or veggie sticks. I still can’t believe how cashews can create such a creamy and cheesy sauce! I also experimented with other vegan cheese sauces using potatoes, carrots, or pumpkin, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s also great with herbs and red pepper flakes. We ate the Mexican stuffed zucchini together with a green salad, but they are also great as a side dish.
Mexican Stuffed Zucchini with Cashew Cheese
For the Mexican Stuffed Zucchini:
- 4.4 oz brown rice
- 3 large zucchini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- one block smoked tofu (7 oz), cut into cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup kidney beans
- 1 cup corn
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
For the Cashew Cheese:
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk If necessary add more water.
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1/2 teaspoon white miso paste optional
- black pepper
- Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package.
- Cut the zucchini lengthwise into halves and scoop out the insides of the zucchini halves with a small spoon. Grease them with olive oil (one tablespoon).
- In a medium pan, heat about one tablespoon of olive oil and stir-fry the tofu cubes for about 4 minutes until they're golden and crispy. Add the onions and sautée for 3 more minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic and sautée for another minute.
- Stir in the cooked rice, the tomato paste, and the water. Add the kidney beans, the corn, and the spices.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and put the zucchini shells on top. Fill the Mexican rice into the zucchini shells.
- Then make the cashew cheese: Drain the cashews and place them into a food processor together with the rest of the ingredients. Process until smooth.
Put the cheese sauce on top of the stuffed zucchini and bake them at 350 °F for 20 minutes.